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In early 2017, I decided to do my first ebook launch.
Quite honestly, it all started out while I was creating a few new freebies for my site. I didn’t really think that it would evolve into a full on ebook, but that it did. And so I continued.
At the time, I had no relevant experience and I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I knew tons of other bloggers who had found success selling ebooks, so I used their stories as personal motivation and hoped for the best.
It took me about a week to curate the content for the ebook. Mind you, I was also working on other aspects of my blog at the time, including publishing weekly blogs, corresponding with my audience, and growing my backlink profile through guest posts and other SEO best practices. To put it simply, I was busy.
Still, though, I prioritized the ebook launch and, despite my inexperience and naivety, I thought I’d be able to bring in a decent amount of money from the launch.
I was wrong.
I’m not going to sugarcoat this for you. Instead, I’m going to be brutally honest.
This ebook launch was a major failure for my blog and, because of that, it was one of my greatest learning experiences.
While I didn’t find a way to successfully launch a profitable ebook, I figured out all the ways NOT to launch a profitable ebook. This failure helped me find points of weakness in my blog strategy and helped me get on the right road to fixing those errors.
And that’s why I’m sharing this with you. I’m proud of this failure. I learned a lot from it, and this failure helped pave the way for far greater successes.
So, here are all the reasons why my ebook launch failed miserably – and tips for you on how to avoid it.
"I'm proud of this failure" - learn all the ways NOT to do an ebook launch
My ebook was called “How to Build a Profitable Blog”.
How many blogging products have you seen on the market that offers the same or similar information?
I don’t mean to suggest that the content in my ebook wasn’t strong. It was. I put my heart into that ebook and every word therein. But so did everyone else who created a similar ebook or course.
Also, I didn’t have any proof to share at the time.
I was writing income reports and making money, but not a whole lot of money. So, there I was trying to sell an ebook on how to make a profitable blog when I didn’t really have that much credibility myself. Silly me.
Here’s how I went about marketing my fancy, shiny, new ebook.
I created a sales page for it.
Yeeeaahhhh, that’s pretty much it.
At the time, I didn’t know what a sales funnel was. I barely had an email list. I had no idea how to get the word out about my ebook.
So all I did was create a sales page, and share the link to that sales page on my social media accounts. It’s truly no wonder the entire venture was a flop!
Pro tip: When you’re selling something, make sure to create a sales funnel. This will help automate your sales while also increasing the likelihood that your audience will make a purchase.
Example Sales Funnel: Product is a 30-day Paleo meal plan
See how the sales funnel works? No one likes to be sold to. So if you’re straight up selling to someone without offering free value first or trying to build a relationship, you’ll just make people upset and you’ll almost certainly make ZERO sales.
The sales funnel goal: provide value and build a relationship. People will feel intrigued by you and your product and want to give it a try.
During my pre-launch period, I decided to offer free copies of my ebook to interested people to read, review, test – all that fun stuff.
So I hopped over to one of my favorite blogging Facebook groups (my group barely even existed at the time) and posted a request.
It said something like this:
“I’m looking for people to review my brand new ebook on how to start a profitable blog. If you’re interested, send me an email to email@example.com and I’ll get it to you for free right away!”
What resulted? About two-dozen people sent me emails and I sent them free copies of the ebook.
While I got great reviews and testimonials, I honestly didn’t get much value beyond that.
The people who replied to my email were people who NEEDED my ebook – they weren’t people who were going to join the affiliate program and help spread the word… mostly because they were just getting started. If I were to do it again, I’d strategically give free copies out to people who would help get the word out about my product. I’d give access to influencers.
When it was time to promote my ebook, I didn’t have anywhere to promote it besides my super duper small Facebook group and my Twitter account. So it’s really no wonder that no one heard of it and I made no sales.
My email list had a few dozen subscribers. So even if I knew how to create a sales funnel and promote my ebook via email, I would have had no one on the other end reading the emails.
While growing an email list can be daunting and tedious at times, it truly is one of the best assets you can have as a blogger. You have a lot of selling power when you build a list of people who are interested in what you have to say and share. So spend some time growing that list - you certainly won't ever regret it.
If you're not sure how to start growing your email list, check out this free webinar training that I hosted with email marketing expert Meera Kothand. She's a rockstar and truly shared some incredible stuff!
You also might be interested in downloading some free resources to help learn how to grow your list from nothing to something!
Pro tip: spend time building up your email list before you launch, especially if you don’t have a large social media following. You don’t need tens of thousands of people on your list, you just need targeted, qualified subscribers. The best way to achieve this is to create a freebie that relates to your product and start promoting that.
I just mentioned how I didn't have an email list to market my product to, but the problem goes even deeper than that... while my email list was sooooooort of growing (kinda), all of the freebies I offered at the time were COMPLETELY unrelated to my end product.
The idea with digital product sales is that you build up a queue of emails for people you know would be interested in your product.
The best way to do that is by creating a mini version (or teaser) of your product in the form of a freebie. Freebies can take many forms (get some ideas here), but I usually like to offer email courses or ebooks.
So, looking back, if I could do it again, I'd start by creating a relevant freebie. Then I'd promote the heck out of that freebie so that I'd have a bunch of people on my email list who I new 100% would love the product I had for sale.
Looking back, I can’t remember what I priced my ebook. But I remember it being a completely random, arbitrary number that I pulled out of a hat.
I never sat down to analyze the ebook, or the quality of the content therein. I also never analyzed how pricing psychology might influence product sales.
For example: a course that’s price too cheaply might translate to people thinking, “Wow, that’s so cheap, there’s probably nothing valuable in it.”
Or a product that’s too expensive, “This person is outta their mind and just money hungry.”
Or “$50 seems a bit too much for me right now,” versus “$47 is less than $50 – I can swing that!”
There is a lot to consider when pricing an ebook or any digital product – too bad I didn’t consider any of that before my ebook launch! I pulled a random number out of nowhere and… well, the rest is history.
If you didn’t already catch my drift, you’ll for sure catch it now. I didn’t do much planning AT ALL for the ebook. So I definitely didn’t plan a launch period. I didn’t even know what a launch was!
I wrote the ebook, proofread it, handed it to reviewers, got some testimonials, created a landing page, and then started sharing the sales page with people on social media. There was no hype, no incentive to buy, no anything.
Ebook launch success stories usually include free trainings and webinars that precede the launch. They include enticing incentives to buy (bonuses for purchase within a certain time frame). Sometimes, successful ebook launch periods even include upsells or downsells.
I had none of the above. So that was a major boo-boo on my part.
Like I said before, there's a lesson to be learned from every failure. Needless to say, I learned a ton from one failed ebook launch. I now know a ton of ways NOT to do a successful launch for an ebook!
What are the major takeaways? Let's break those down:
Moral of the story: don't do what I did. Good luck and happy selling!
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Launching an ebook? Don't make these mistakes #blog #ebook
Don't F up your ebook launch with these mistakes #blog #ebook #blogging
You'll totally botch your chances at making money with your ebook if you make these mistakes